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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Women wake up – your dignity is negotiable

Posted: Tue, 21 May 2013 10:22 by Anne Marie Waters

Women wake up – your dignity is negotiable

This morning I read about a man in Sydney who was accused of rioting last year. Mohammad Issai Issaka, accused of riot, assaulting police, and resisting arrest during the infamous Sydney riots of 2012, refused to stand up in court claiming it was against his religion. He would not stand because the Magistrate was a woman.

In the end, according to the report, a ludicrous "compromise" was reached "whereby Issaka would walk into the courtroom after the Magistrate and leave before her, so he didn't have to technically stand up for her".

I am almost lost for words.

A woman works to achieve the position of Magistrate – a position generally viewed with respect – but she is humiliated and degraded because some misogynist little twerp refuses to acknowledge her authority.

Guess what happens? A "compromise". Not contempt of court as it should have been, but a tacit approval of his "beliefs" - regardless of how humiliating it may be for the Magistrate - and a lesson to all women; no matter who you are or what you achieve, you're still just a woman and if a man doesn't want to recognise your authority, well that is his prerogative and it will be respected.

This is not the first time.

In Italy, a 5-star hotel in Venice also reached a "compromise" when a Muslim employee refused to take orders from the female boss. Instead of being fired as he should have been, the hotel hired a man to take orders from the female boss and relay them to the employee. The woman's dignity went out the window.

In Spain, female parking metre enforcement officers were withdrawn from an area in Palma de Mallorca following harassment from members of a local mosque who insisted that only men should work there. The women were moved on and replaced with an exclusively male team.

Sharia law is thriving in Britain– and elsewhere – even though it treats women as property (property with beating rights afforded to owners). FGM goes on with such impunity in the UK that people are even coming here from other European countries to have it performed under the nose of our authorities; knowing full well it will go unpunished because it is their 'culture'.

The lesson? When there is a clash between the rights and dignity of women and religious or cultural sensitivities, women lose – every single time.

It is time to wake up. This will only get worse if we don't.

Tags: Equality & Human Rights, Religion & Belief